COMING FEBRUARY 1, 2021

RADIO DOCUMENTARY SERIES


COMING
FEBRUARY 1, 2021

RADIO DOCUMENTARY SERIES

“In Haiti we have beauty, we have art, food, dance, music, and all of that keeps us through hard times. We came through slavery to make this world a better place and through the freedom to express this in the music, you hear the resilience, the rhythms and it connects straight to New Orleans."

– Paul Beaubrun, musician


Much of what distinguishes New Orleans today from other American cities can be traced back to deep French and African influences from the Caribbean Island now called Haiti.  NOLA’s Haitian cultural influence began two hundred years ago when 10,000 free and enslaved people fled the uprising in the French colony of Saint Domingue.  The city’s multi-cultural DNA is what has made New Orleans famous and is reflected in the food, architecture, art, and most notably, its music.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans explores the continuing impact of this Caribbean island nation on America’s liveliest city.



Much of what distinguishes New Orleans today from other American cities can be traced back to deep French and African influences from the Caribbean Island now called Haiti.  NOLA’s Haitian cultural influence began two hundred years ago when 10,000 free and enslaved people fled the uprising in the French colony of Saint Domingue.  The city’s multi-cultural DNA is what has made New Orleans famous and is reflected in the food, architecture, art, and most notably, its music.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans explores the continuing impact of this Caribbean island nation on America’s liveliest city.


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PROGRAM DESCRIPTION & DETAILS

From WXPN, the producers of the Peabody-nominated and Regional Edward R. Murrow award-winning Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul, comes a new audio docu-series chronicling Haitian influences on the music, culture, and community of New Orleans and contextualizing the nation’s historical importance through its considerable artistic and musical traditions.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans is produced by Alex Lewis, an award-winning independent radio producer and musician whose projects include Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio, Every ZIP Philadelphia, Localore: Finding America collaboration with AIR and WHYY, Expandable Sound series of musical portraits for Clocktower Radio, and WXPN’s Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul. Alex is leading a team of producers including editor and writer Cheryl Devall (Reveal, Code Switch, Marketplace) and award-winning New Orleans-based radio producer, writer, and audio documentarian, Eve Abrams. WXPN Assistant Station Manager Bruce Warren and General Manager Roger LaMay are the project’s Executive Producers.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans will include two one-hour documentary segments and a third hour that serves as an all-musical companion to the documentary. The documentary will work best when aired as part of the full series.

Because of the island’s Caribbean location, its history as a Spanish and French colony, and past trade enabled by West African slaves, Haiti’s music is richly diverse in styles, incorporating native Taíno, African, French, and Spanish influences. These cultural traditions made their way to New Orleans when more than 10,000 free and enslaved Haitians immigrated to the city after the slave uprising at the turn of the 19th century. Kanaval tells both the story of Haiti’s rich history and its influence on the music of New Orleans.

Kanaval celebrates the origins, history, and persistent influence of Haitian culture and features interviews and music from Boukman Eksperyans, Paul Beaubrun, RAM, Lakou Mizik, Chico Boyer, Win Butler & Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Ben Jaffee of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others. Throughout the documentary historical insights and interviews are provided by Ned Sublette (historian, writer, and musician), Laurent DuBois (Duke University and author of numerous books on Haitian history), Distinguished Professor of Social Science and Associate Professor of Sociology at Loyola University-New Orleans, Angel Adams Parham, Ph.D., award-winning author Edwidge Danticat, Linda Reno & Lori Martineau (Haitianola Organization), Elizabeth McAlister, Professor of Religion and African American studies at Wesleyan University and author of Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora.

Leyla McCalla | Courtesy of the artist

The series is hosted by Haitian-American and New Orleans based artist and musician, Leyla McCalla, a founding member of Our Native Daughters & alumna of the GRAMMY award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Leyla’s work unearthing history and musical tradition, combined with her knowledge of cultural hybridization and her own identity as a Haitian-American have given her a unique voice and perspective. Her music reflects her eclectic and diverse life experiences, projecting respect for eloquent simplicity that is rarely achieved.

Leyla’s current project, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, tells the legacy of Radio Haiti, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner through Leyla’s own Haitian-American lens. The multidisciplinary performance, featuring her original compositions and arrangements of traditional Haitian songs and premiered in March 2020 at Duke University and will be presented in Philadelphia as part of the Kanaval project.

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PROGRAM CONSIDERATION

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans will be available for air beginning in February 2021, and is an ideal offering to celebrate Black History Month. Given its unique story and substantial music, the series is ideal for both news and music stations to elevate the story of how the music and culture of Haiti’s rich history intersects with the music of New Orleans.

For more information about carrying the series, please contact Bruce Warren or the Membership Partnership team at NPR.

Image
Image Image

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION & DETAILS

From WXPN, the producers of the Peabody-nominated and Regional Edward R. Murrow award-winning Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul, comes a new audio docu-series chronicling Haitian influences on the music, culture, and community of New Orleans and contextualizing the nation’s historical importance through its considerable artistic and musical traditions.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans is produced by Alex Lewis, an award-winning independent radio producer and musician whose projects include Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio, Every ZIP Philadelphia, Localore: Finding America collaboration with AIR and WHYY, Expandable Sound series of musical portraits for Clocktower Radio, and WXPN’s Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul. Alex is leading a team of producers including editor and writer Cheryl Devall (Reveal, Code Switch, Marketplace) and award-winning New Orleans-based radio producer, writer, and audio documentarian, Eve Abrams. WXPN Assistant Station Manager Bruce Warren and General Manager Roger LaMay are the project’s Executive Producers.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans will include two one-hour documentary segments and a third hour that serves as an all-musical companion to the documentary. The documentary will work best when aired as part of the full series.

Because of the island’s Caribbean location, its history as a Spanish and French colony, and past trade enabled by West African slaves, Haiti’s music is richly diverse in styles, incorporating native Taíno, African, French, and Spanish influences. These cultural traditions made their way to New Orleans when more than 10,000 free and enslaved Haitians immigrated to the city after the slave uprising at the turn of the 19th century. Kanaval tells both the story of Haiti’s rich history and its influence on the music of New Orleans.

Kanaval celebrates the origins, history, and persistent influence of Haitian culture and features interviews and music from Boukman Eksperyans, Paul Beaubrun, RAM, Lakou Mizik, Chico Boyer, Win Butler & Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Ben Jaffee of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others. Throughout the documentary historical insights and interviews are provided by Ned Sublette (historian, writer, and musician), Laurent DuBois (Duke University and author of numerous books on Haitian history), Distinguished Professor of Social Science and Associate Professor of Sociology at Loyola University-New Orleans, Angel Adams Parham, Ph.D., award-winning author Edwidge Danticat, Linda Reno & Lori Martineau (Haitianola Organization), Elizabeth McAlister, Professor of Religion and African American studies at Wesleyan University and author of Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora.

Leyla McCalla | Courtesy of the artist

The series is hosted by Haitian-American and New Orleans based artist and musician, Leyla McCalla, a founding member of Our Native Daughters & alumna of the GRAMMY award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Leyla’s work unearthing history and musical tradition, combined with her knowledge of cultural hybridization and her own identity as a Haitian-American have given her a unique voice and perspective. Her music reflects her eclectic and diverse life experiences, projecting respect for eloquent simplicity that is rarely achieved.

Leyla’s current project, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, tells the legacy of Radio Haiti, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner through Leyla’s own Haitian-American lens. The multidisciplinary performance, featuring her original compositions and arrangements of traditional Haitian songs and premiered in March 2020 at Duke University and will be presented in Philadelphia as part of the Kanaval project.

Image Image

PROGRAM CONSIDERATION

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans will be available for air beginning in February 2021, and is an ideal offering to celebrate Black History Month. Given its unique story and substantial music, the series is ideal for both news and music stations to elevate the story of how the music and culture of Haiti’s rich history intersects with the music of New Orleans

For more information about carrying the series, please contact Bruce Warren or the Membership Partnership team at NPR.

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AUDIO


Kanaval: Haiti New Orleans


Kanaval: New Orleans Favorites





VIDEO


“Renmen”
by Lakou Mizik featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band
“Vodou Ceremony”
by Paul Beaubrun and Zing Experience featuring Michael Brun and Boukman Eksperyans

"Live In Boston"

by Tabou Combo


Major support for Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from Wyncote Foundation.